John Wick Hex Was Previously “XCOM With One Character” – Bithell

Bithell Games talks about the shift from a turn-based system to more dynamic one.

Posted By | On 18th, Jun. 2019

John Wick Hex

Bithell Games’ John Wick Hex is an intriguing strategy title, not least because it features the iconic John Wick character. However, throughout the game, players adhere to a timeline that will pause and start the gameplay depending on what you do. It’s dynamic, but previously, this was meant to be a more traditional turn-based strategy title.

DualShockers spoke to studio head Mike Bithell at E3 2019 and he explained why that system didn’t really fit the original vision of the films.  “It was XCOM with one character and it sucked,” said Bithell. “It was the worst version of what you imagine when you think of a John Wick strategy game. It was slow, it was deliberate, and you’d do your move and then you’d watch as five guys would just take turns to shoot John.”

Co-designer and lead programmer Nic Tringali also felt the same, and said it was important to have other characters busy while you’re engaged in the action. As for the turn-based system, Tringali said, “It doesn’t really feel right even though all the moves are there, the look is there… it doesn’t feel suited to what’s going on in the movies. So [we] pulled that out and went ‘ok, you have actions and it’s all on this timeline system.’

“The most important thing is everyone is always doing something while you’re doing it…so that’s the fast-paced action of it…While the whole game will stop and pause and let you do your own thing, as soon as you hit go again, it’s full speed.”

John Wick Hex is a prequel to the films, and though its combat system functions more on a timeline, it still contains many of the genre’s tropes. Fog of war, hex-based grid movement, and more can be expected. As of now, the game doesn’t have a release date, but it will be coming to PC via the Epic Games Store. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.


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